By Kevin Dillon/DFP Sports
EAST LANSING, Mich. — The No. 13/14 Boston University men’s hockey team must have been having déjà vu at Michigan State University Saturday night, as it allowed two quick goals late in the third period to fall behind and lose its second game in a row. The Terriers lost 3-1 at Munn Ice Arena, and have now dropped three of their last four contests.
The game mirrored Friday night’s loss to No. 4 University of Michigan, when the Terriers (3-3, 1-0 Hockey East) scored a late first period goal, but, after several penalties, BU could not hold onto a one-goal lead for the entirety of the game despite strong performance in goal.
“We took a step back this weekend,” said BU coach David Quinn. “We were moving forward, I think we’ve been progressing, and just a huge step back this weekend. It’s just frustrating because I really like what I’ve seen the first three weeks.”
Sophomore goaltender Sean Maguire ended the night with 30 saves in the loss. That performance came after a 42-save loss by fellow sophomore netminder Matt O’Connor the night before.
“Without our goaltending, god knows where we’d be right now,” Quinn said. “They’re allowing us to grow and find our way, win some hockey games in the process.”
With less than a minute to play in the first period, freshmen defenseman Doyle Somerby and forward Kevin Duane won a battle along the right boards and chipped the puck into the air where junior center Cason Hohmann grabbed the puck. Hohmann darted into the zone and drew the defender on a 2-on-1 before snapping a long pass through the zone to sophomore winger Matt Lane, who potted his second goal of the season to the right of Michigan State (1-3, 0-0 Big Ten) goaltender Jake Hildebrand.
Somerby, who was tied for a team-high with five blocked shots on the night, earned the first point of his collegiate career with the assist on the play. Fellow freshman Dalton MacAfee also had a good night, making several nice plays to break up Michigan State scoring chances.
That goal held for the Terriers through the second period despite them spending much of the frame on the penalty kill. The Terriers took four penalties in the period — three of which were stick infractions. BU, however, did a good job of killing the penalties and even created a few scoring chances with one fewer skater on the ice. The Terriers were 7-for-7 killing penalties on the night.
The Spartans pulled even in the third period, though, when forward Brent Darnell scooped up a rebound and put it past Maguire with less than five minutes remaining in the frame. Less than a minute later, Spartan Joe Cox scored just a few feet away from where Michigan State netted its first goal. After winning a battle in close, the forward flicked the puck off Maguire’s pad and into the net to give Michigan State the 2-1 lead.
“Both of them were kind of greasy goals,” said BU captain Garrett Noonan. “At the same time, they worked for their goals, they went hard all night like they were a desperate hockey team. Give them credit. They earned those goals.”
Spartan captain Greg Wolfe added the empty net goal with four seconds remaining to seal the victory for Michigan State.
The Terriers’ offense struggled to get quality scoring chances on the night, and totaled 27 shots — 13 of which came in the second period and five of which came in the final few minutes of play when BU was scrambling for offense. The Spartans only outshot BU 22-21 with the teams at even strength, as Michigan State totaled 11 shots with the man advantage.
Quinn said he did not feel his team was ready to play Tuesday night, and that it was playing “youth hockey.”
“I think they looked at the 0-3 record,” Quinn said. “They’re kids. I could tell them till I’m blue in the face, and they’re not believing me. We took a step back.”
As for the plan going forward, Quinn had a simple message for the team in the locker room after the game.
“Be ready to practice on Tuesday,” Quinn said.